by Rex Wockner -
SGN Contributing Writer
Canada defunds Toronto Gay pride
Toronto's Gay pride festival got $400,000 in funding from the federal government last year but gets nothing this year.
Industry Minister Tony Clement told local media the government isn't against Gays but, instead, wants to fund events outside of big cities this year.
Pride Toronto isn't convinced homophobia wasn't a factor, pointing out that the tourism minister who handed over the money last year, Diane Ablonczy, was thereafter reassigned to different duties.
Austria to issue Gay stamp
Austrian Post will issue a Gay stamp June 25 in conjunction with Vienna's 15th Rainbow Parade.
"To our knowledge this is the first time in the world that a postal authority is issuing a special stamp on a Gay/Lesbian occasion," said Jona Solomon, co-president of HOSI Wien, or Homosexual Initiative Vienna.
Designed by Gay activist and graphic designer Christian Högl, the 55-euro-cent stamp will go on sale June 25 and become valid for use on July 3. The amount is the cost to send a standard letter or postcard within Austria.
Austrian Post also will place a mobile post office in downtown's Schwarzenbergplatz on July 3 to service pridegoers at the parade endpoint.
"Austrian Post is again writing philatelic history with this stamp," said HOSI Secretary General Kurt Krickler. "We hope that many postal authorities in the world will follow and dedicate stamps to LGBT themes."
Pope criticizes Gay marriage in Portugal
Pope Benedict XVI denounced Gay marriage May 13 in Portugal, which soon will become the 10th nation where same-sex couples can marry.
Speaking in Fátima, the pontiff said protecting "the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman ... respond[s] to some of today's most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good."
A bill legalizing same-sex marriage is awaiting Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva's expected signature.
Gay marriage also is legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Mexico City, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C.
Saskatchewan mulls letting marriage celebrants reject Gays
Saskatchewan's Court of Appeal heard submissions May 13 and 14 on government initiatives that would permit marriage commissioners to refuse to marry same-sex couples.
The Canadian province's justice ministry hopes the court will declare constitutional one or the other of two proposed laws that it asked the judges to review under the rarely used Constitutional Questions Act.
One measure would allow marriage commissioners to opt out of performing any marriage they object to for religious reasons. A second bill would do the same thing, but would apply only to commissioners who were appointed before same-sex marriage became legal in the province in 2004.
The provincial Human Rights Commission and the Court of Queen's Bench previously ruled against a marriage commissioner who refused to perform his duties because of personal objections to homosexuality. Other, similar lawsuits are ongoing.
Canada's Parliament made same-sex marriage the law of the land in 2005, by which time courts already had legalized Gay marriage in nine of Canada's 13 provinces and territories - everywhere but Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Prince Edward Island.
With assistance from Bill Kelley
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